On this page you will find helpful information on air source heat pumps:
Air source heat pumps (ASHP's) are the most common heat pumps used in domestic and commercial buildings. This is because air heat pumps are easier to install and can be installed independently in some apartments, whereas this cannot be achieved with ground and water source heat pumps.
You can however have a thermal energy heating (ground) or Hydronic heating cooling (water) source heat pump plant that serves the whole building just like air source heat pumps and air-conditioning plants.
Air heat pumps are also less expensive to purchase and to install than ground or water source heat pumps, but these costs, as with all heat pump types, are quickly recovered compared to traditional non-renewable energy types of heating.
The efficiency of air source heat pumps to provide heat, as with all types of heat pumps, far exceed traditional types of heating systems (see heat exchange process). However, the efficiency of the air heat pump is below that of the ground and water source heat pump due to the fluctuation of the external air temperature and is also reduced in moments of reduced air-flow and high wind conditions, unlike the more constant ground and water temperature.
The performance of air source heat pumps is again reduced in extended periods of below freezing temperature. Generally when external temperatures fall below 4.4oC a panel of electric resistance coils comes into play to provide indoor space heating (this is less efficient).
Yes, air heat pumps are also available as multi-split systems. These are heat pump systems for 'central heating' enabling you to have up to 8 indoor units coupled to only 1 outdoor unit. These systems eliminate the ducting required, as with gas fired forced air systems.
There are also air heat pump systems with 'Reverse Cycle Chillers' (RCC). Having this type of heat pump will enable you to have more heating and cooling distribution options. As well as having a multi-split system you can also have underfloor heating. This is possible because the heat pump is connected to a tank of water that's heavily insulated which the heat pump heats or cools.
Heat pumps with an RCC system can use the stored energy in the water to either heat or cool the air and allow the heat pump to work in low outdoor temperatures without the use of an electric resistance coil (heat pumps with RCC system are substantially more efficient than standard air source heat pumps).
The stored heat also eliminates the periodic blowing of cool air usual to air heat pumps during their defrost cycle and their initial start of the heating cycle. The hot water can also be used for underfloor heating.
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